ConnectU is suing Facebook for, among other things, copyright infringement, breach of contract, theft of trade secret. (It should be noted that Facebook is counter-suing for business torts and unfair business practices).
ConnectU (which started at Harvard Connection) alleges that Mark Zuckerberg was brought on as a member of the ConnectU development team, given access to the existing code base and business plans, and eventually "stole" them. For more details, read the full set of complaints and other filings.
Rob is wondering why no one is covering this lawsuit... it's certainly a big deal given the recent valuations and talk of an IPO. As Mike Arrington notes, "this isn’t a case of plaintiffs looking for a quick buck as billion dollar valuations are discussed" - this is actually a long-standing dispute that commenced long before we were saying "Facebook" and "billions" in the same sentence.
Facebook recently acquired Parakey, a as-yet-launched "web operating system" started by Firefox co-founders. Rumor has it that Google was also in the bidding, but that Parakey was lured by pre-IPO stock. Maybe if they considered this lawsuit, or if Google stock wasn't already "overvalued", they would have considered the Google offer instead.
The Parakey acquisition is especially interesting in the wake of the Facebook platform's resounding success. Duncan Riley even suggested that Facebook might become the next Microsoft (and all the good and bad that comes along with that distinction). If nothing else, it definitely shows that they've come to realize how important being a - or rather, the - platform is. Or perhaps the acquisition is in part hedging their bets against the ConnectU lawsuit?
Either way, Facebook is certainly proving ambitious. If it succeeds, turning down $1 billion will be the best move Mark Zuckerberg ever made.